Holy Week is the week that stretches from Palm Sunday to Easter. There are several “highlights” if that’s the right word to use. Maundy Thursday is the time when we stop, and remember the betrayal of Christ, and remember His giving to us the great gift of Holy Communion. On Good Friday, we take time to remember the cross, and the penalty that Jesus Christ paid for our sins.
And while are the really significant times of this week, there are other moments that are important. And through this week, we will take time to look at what happens each day of Holy Week, and see what we can learn, as we move towards the cross and the empty grave.
Today we read from John 12:1-8:
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
There’s a lot that we can unpack in this passage, but I want to focus on Mary’s devotion to Jesus. He has raised her brother Lazarus from the dead, and now He has come to their home. And what is Mary’s response? Pure thankfulness.
She takes this perfume and anoints Jesus, then she wipes His feet with her hair. It is an act of pure, humble, devotion and love. You could argue it’s nearly humiliating to do this. But she doesn’t care. She is so thankful to Jesus for what He has done for her, for your family. Her heart overflows with thanksgiving for the work of Jesus in her life.
And contrast that with the grumbling of the disciples. Judas speaks here, but the other gospels allude that he is merely speaking up for everyone. (Though John does give us a little insight in Judas’ character. His motives weren’t pure. Neither are ours, all the time.) They all thought that this was a waste of resources. They could have done something with it.
And Jesus says this – you won’t always have me with you. Be thankful. Be thankful. That’s our first job today. To be thankful.
Your first job today is to be thankful. Before you go. Before you serve. Your first just to merely be thankful for what God has done for you.
Then, with thankful hearts, go and serve. But, first, we must give thanks. We must. For true service comes from there. From a thankful heart.
Today, are we thankful? That’s our first job.
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